Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Professional Hypnotherapist and Street Hypnosis – Can You Do Both?

I have been criticised for mixing elements of street hypnosis within my hypnotherapy sessions, most recently following my recent blog post. This criticism has come from General Practitioners (Doctors) and certain other hypnotherapists. Apparently, street hypnosis of any kind is ‘unprofessional’ for a hypnotherapist, and ‘totally unprofessional’ in a clinical setting.


I put my clients’ needs first before any perceived ‘professionalism’ by others. And I believe that is why I get the results that I get. I do my best to do what is needed to get my clients to where they want to be. That is the most important part.

Today during a hypnotherapy session I had my client hallucinate a living breathing independently living dog. I followed that up by sticking a business card to their fingers, sticking their hand to their head, and then having them forget their name. All of this was without a recognisable induction, my client not in any trance at all, and the total process took about 5 minutes. It was pure street hypnosis. My client couldn’t even identify that he was in hypnosis. He just couldn’t say his name, could see the dog living independently, and had bits of his body ‘stuck’ to things. The results were very tangible.

So what did this have to do with a client session? Firstly, I used it to illustrate what happens when the imagination locks onto an idea. How, outside of conscious awareness, the body will react to that imagination and move towards its creation. How your imagination can guide you to your behaviour and results. It was an eye-opening experience for my client as he realised how he created elements of his problem. And a fun experience too.

(I could have taken the phenomena much further, for example gone for some negative hallucinations such as making myself invisible to my client (always a winner!), created and tested for anaesthesia, or ramping up the fun a little – yet there was no need. I knew my client was exactly where I needed him to be already.)

By carrying out this process I was also ramping up the hypnotic phenomena, checking that he could create the depth of phenomena I required for the post hypnotic suggestions required to ‘stick’.

With my client already well hypnotised, and creating a depth of phenomena which indicated to me that he would follow any suggestion accurately and immediately, he was one suggestion away from a ‘trance’ hypnotic state that matched his model of hypnosis. I ‘dropped’ him into this state and delivered the direct suggestions he needed for the change of behaviour, before taking him out of hypnosis and testing the work.

Hypnotherapists are often taught to use long winded and cumbersome methods of inducing hypnosis. I empowered myself to learn every methodology I could find to induce hypnosis, and looked to the street and stage teachings to fill the gaps in my knowledge. By practicing the street and stage methodology (including the psychology of the subjects) I have become far better placed to hypnotise my clients, and to do so more quickly. They have also been more cooperative with the entire change-work process. And the quicker I can obtain the hypnosis I want with my client the more time I have to work with them.

I practice street hypnosis exactly as a fighter uses padwork – as practice. I get to hypnotise loads of people and produce hypnotic phenomena. This is the practice time, where it is OK to make mistakes. I do not consider it OK to make mistakes during a hypnotherapy session, so I practice to minimise risk. It is also a very, very powerful marketing tool.

And when I do street hypnosis I don’t humiliate or embarrass, instead I empower the subject. I leave hypnotic gifts to help them with their lives. The experience is about the subject and not the onlookers. In the street I am ‘subject centred’ and in hypnotherapy I am ‘client centred’.

In a clinical setting there seems to be a stubborn opinion that everything should be done ‘professionally’, and in the ‘correct and appropriate manner’. This appears to be in respect to dressing a certain way for clients, the set up of the room, operating in a certain procedural fashion - the way that you carry yourself as you do the work, the way you carry out the work.

I say professionalism is doing what is needed for the client. I often dress casual to have the client relaxed and put at ease. (For sports clients I am often in sports kit for example.) I greet my clients warmly. I put humour in to ‘break states’. I love using my sense of fun to provoke a different reaction. I attach enjoyment as much as I possibly can. I go into neuroscience and psychology and get the books out all in a fun way to illustrate points so the client knows I know what I’m talking about so they can trust me. Everything I do from the first contact through to the follow up is by design, as appropriate for the client, to help them get the best results I can.

I put the client first.

And isn’t that being professional?